Robert Walker, 91, of Westbury, N.Y., passed away peacefully in his home on October 25, 2019 after a long illness. Robert “Bobby”was born in New York to Eldora and John “Big Jack” Walker on January 19, 1928. He attended school in Lawrence, Long Island. Bobby joined the Navy in 1946 with an honorable discharge in 1948. There he honed his fascination with electronics and guidance systems. A proud graduate of Howard University Engineering program in Washington DC in 1952, he met the love of his life and married Gloria Lipsett on New Year’s Eve 1953 in Brooklyn, New York. He went on to an illustrious 32 year career at Grumman as an Aeorospace engineer in Long Island. Robert was instrumental in numerous aspects of the space program including the Apollo program. He was deeply involved in special projects like designing the mechanisms for landing gear and early robotics such as the “LEM”. He was known and frequently sought after for his creative problem solving skills, being called in at all hours during critical space missions. Mr. Walker’s contributions were recognized along with other members of his team in a special plaque that remains on the moon. He was an early supporter and served as assistant coach of the local Little League sponsored by the volunteer Westbury Fire Department. He served as a local commentator and columnist on baseball describing triumphs from the promising 6 year-olds coming through the “Farm System” all the way up to the ”Connie Mack” high schoolers. He was a team leader for boy Scouts Troop # 233 and encouraged both his sons to participate in baseball and the scouts with him. Through these and other community interactions, he also was an early mentor for young people interested in STEM (Science technology engineering math) careers, tutoring many in calculus and advising in pre-engineering curriculum and career planning. Bobby was an outdoorsman, avid fisherman and gardener. Everyone in the neighborhood loved the seemingly endless supply of fresh produce he generously shared. A regular at the gym and devotee of “Jack La Lane”, he maintained a rigorous physical regimen well into his senior years. In retirement, he helped keep history alive by volunteering to guide tours at Grumman and educate local students and visitors about the glorious early days of space exploration.
Mr. Walker is preceded in death by his wife Gloria, sister Marian “Wiggy”, brothers George, Herschel, and Tommy. He is survived by sisters Enid and Flo and his children, the 5 “D’s”, Dr. Darryl Walker, Denice , Diane, Duane and Debra. He was the proud grandfather of Na ‘im, Aiden, Khemet, Simone, Imani and Mackenzie, and also leaves great-grandchildren Kaloni and Kalea, a host of loving nieces, nephews, and long term neighbors. A celebration of life is planned for Spring 2020. Arrangements are with Donohue Cecere Funeral Home.
In Lieu of flowers, donations are requested for the Cherokee nation at:
The family of Mr. Walker wishes to extend our sincere thanks to Michelle Hodges, Noel Walsh, and Lisa Merritt for their kindness and compassion in helping with his caring journey.
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